The First Sikh Guru : Guru Nanak
The First Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak by Harish Dhillon is a readable and a concisely written biography of the founder of Sikhism.
The main USP of this book is that within few hundred pages the author has unravelled the life and times of the First Sikh Guru.
Religion plays a very important role in the life of an Individual. You can’t escape from it. Even if you are an atheist. Especially, in a country like India.
Although, majority of the people are aware of the major religions of the world like, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, and the prophets associated with it.
But, there are several other religions too like Jainism, and the topic of this article is Sikhism and the man who was behind the establishment of this beautiful religion, Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj.
So, some of you might be thinking who is this man and why he started this religion.
Let’s start by asking some questions related to this subject of ours.
Who Was The First Sikh Guru?
Guru Nanak was the First Sikh Guru and the founder of the Sikhism, One of the youngest religions of the world.
He established this religion of peace, humanity and tolerance around the 15th century.
His philosophy is all about serving the mankind without expecting anything in return.
Early life of Guru Nanak :-
Nanak was born to Kalyan Chand or Mehta Kalo and Devi Tripta in Rai Bhoe de Talwandi, Now known as Nankana Sahib, Punjab, Pakistan.
He was from a well-to-do family. His father Mehta Kalo was an employee of the chieftain of the Talwandi. His mother, Tripta was a religious woman who used to look after her family.
When Nanak was born, a Pandit (Scholar) told his father that his son was destined for something great.
His father was delighted after hearing this. And started planning a bright future for his beloved son.
But, destiny had planned something else for Nanak.
From his childhood Nanak liked the company of holy men. He used to debate with them. He enjoyed spending time with them.
Most of the time he preferred to be in the woods with ascetics. And this irritates his father the most.
To divert the attention of his son, Mehta Kalo decided to made him teach several languages.
He hired several scholars who taught Nanak the languages like Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic.
Nanak was a bright student. He learnt all these subjects within a short span of time.
And again he went to the woods to accompany the holy men and quenched the thirst of his curious mind.
Because of this the relationship between the father and the son became sour for sometime.
And again to divert the attention of his son from the world of spirituality his mother and father decided something else, which became famously known as the ‘Sacha Sauda’, The True Bargain.
The Sacha Sauda and Nanak :-
One day Nanak’s father gave him few silver coins so that he can go to the nearby town of Chuharkhana and bring back some items so that he will sell the same at his town and earn some profit from it.
To make his father proud, Nanak decided he will do everything this time. So, went to the town of Chuharkhana with his friend.
While traveling through the woods Nanak saw some holy men who were naked and looked so malnourished that he thought they will die at any time.
His curious mind again led him towards those ascetics. Nanak’s friend became bewildered when he saw this. He warned him about the task that his father gave him.
But, Nanak was Nanak. He asked the holy sadhus about their religion and from which sect they belong.
Those sadhus (holy men) were from the Nirbanis sect of Hinduism.
After asking them several questions. Nanak, took their blessings and he went to the town.
Nanak bought several food items and other important stuff from his father’s money. And instead of returning to his home he went to those Nirbanis Sadhus and gave them all what he bought.
Those holy men were unfed for the past seven days before meeting Nanak. They gave Nanak their blessings and with those good wishes Nanak felt happy and went home.
When Nanak’s father saw him coming empty handed. He realised something was wrong.
When Nanak told him about his encounter with those holy men. And what he did with his father’s money. His father became so angry that he thought his son is going to be doomed because of his spiritual nature.
His father thought how can he survive in this world which is full of evil people.
But, Nanak told his family that by feeding the unfed he already earned a profit which is uncountable.
By doing good deeds he not only earned something which is beyond the comprehension of those materialistic people who only loots but he also showed that by serving others you can serve the Almighty.
This incident is known as the Sacha Sauda, The True Bargain.
Enlightenment at Sultanpur :-
Although, since his childhood Nanak showed his inclination towards the spirituality. But, he received enlightenment at the town of Sultanpur.
Guru Nanak had an elder sister by the name of Nanaki. They both loved each other.
Nanaki married to a man by the name of Jai Ram, who was an offical of the Nawab of Sultanpur, Daulat Khan Lodhi.
So, it was decided by his sister that Nanak will come to Sultanpur and will work there.
The Nawab of Sultanpur already heard about Nanak and the incident of Sacha Sauda. So, he appointed Nanak as his storekeeper.
Nanak not only worked hard but he also made sure that accounts will remain up-to-date.
At his sojourn in Sultanpur Nanak started composing hymns and he along with his best friend, Maradana used to sing those hymns.
We will come to Maradana later on and his importance in the life of Guru Nanak.
People began to flock at Nanak’s place for hearing those melodious hymns. People realised that Nanak was a divine man.
One day Nanak went for a usual bath along the river. But, even after several hours he didn’t returned. People became anxious and thought that something bad happened to him.
A search began for him but to no avail. But, a soldier found him mediating deep in the woods. He came back and told that Nanak is fine.
The first words that Nanak had uttered after the enlightenment –
“There is one God. There is no Hindu, There is no Muslim’.
This became the foundation of his religious philosophy. And with that Nanak became Guru Nanak, The First Sikh Guru.
According to Guru Nanak there is only one caste in the world and that is Mankind.
He preached against caste, creed, ethnicity, superstition and unnecessary rituals.
He never claimed to be a God. He never said that he possessed some supernatural powers.
He served the mankind. He taught by example.
As Mahatma Gandhi said,
‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’
Guru Nanak and Maradana :-
Maradana was not the only the best friend of Guru Nanak, In fact, he was more than that. A companion, a disciple and his brother in arms.
Guru Nanak was a great traveller of his time. He had travelled for almost 23-years. Along with mardana they had travelled to places like Tibet, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Arabia, Iraq, Iran and to the length and breadth of Hindustan (India).
You can consider him a vlogger or blogger of the current time. The only difference is that he taught the masses the right way and the so-called social media influencers of our times only polishes our Ignorance.
One more thing related to Maradana is that he was a muslim from the marasis caste (Professional Singers).
You can gauge now that Guru Nanak never believed in religious discrimination.
Another important aspect about Nanak was the influence on his life of a man by the name of Sayyad Haasan.
Sayyad Haasan was the neighbour of Nanak and his family. He was a man of good books who introduced the young Nanak to the world of Islam.
All of this shows us the influence of diversity which Nanak had on him since his childhood.
Nanak and his family :-
Guru Nanak was married to a woman by the name of Sulakhni. They had two sons, Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das.
Nanak’s wife not only supported her husband but she also taken care of the entire family.
She never complained. She stood by her husband through thick and thin. What a strong woman she was.
Although, Guru Nanak had two sons but when the time came for the succession instead of choosing his sons he had selected a man by the name of Bhai Lehana who became, Guru Angad, The Second Sikh Guru.
This aspect of Guru Nanak also shows us that he preferred merit over any other thing.
In Indian subcontinent, nepotism is quite common. Be it Politics or any other field. Sons and daughters of so and so get the favours easily, while the deserving People have to struggle or wait for eternity.
By reading the life and times of Guru Nanak we can also learn that hereditary transition should not be accepted by the society as long as he or she deserves to be there.
Kartarpur sahib :-
After gaining the enlightenment and When he was done with his traveling and all. Guru Nanak decided to live the life of a householder.
He selected the place which later became renowned by the name of Kartarpur Sahib, West Punjab, Pakistan.
Maradana, Nanak’s mother and father they all died peacefully in Kartarpur Sahib.
As the philosophy of his religion is based on Equality that’s why he also started the concept of Sangat (Religious Congregation) and Langar (Community Kitchen).
It doesn’t matter from which caste, creed and religion you belong, anyone and everyone is welcome to the Gurudwara.
His religion is open to all mankind. And by making people eat together Nanak started something revolutionary.
Rich, Poor, Orphan, Hindu, Muslim and Christian eating together. Could you imagine this he did in the midst of the 15th century.
As, Guru Nanak said in his lifetime that he was not a God. He was a man who was more closer to divinity.
And it was in Kartarpur Sahib that he left his body and his soul became United with the Providence.
The message of love, acceptance, peace, tolerance, humility which the First Sikh Guru preached throughout his lifetime is a prerequisite for the survival of the humanity.
I’ll conclude with these lines –
They wander from Temple to Temple, Mosque to Mosque, Church to Church and Synagogue to Synagogue. They fast just to keep him happy. They follow the rituals without knowing the content. Like a dead fish they go with the flow. Without realising that he resides inside them.
My Ratings : ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5)
I hope you like this, Thanks for Reading, Jai Hind.
Order your copy from here –
“He who has no faith in himself,
Has no faith in God.” -Guru Nanak.
ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਗਟਿਆ।
ਮਿਟੀ ਧੁੰਧੁੰ ਜਗਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਹੋਆ।।
With the emergence of the true Guru Nanak,
The mist cleared and the light scattered all around.
Gave 3 pillars of Sikhism-
ਕਿਰਤ ਕਰੋ :Kirat karo (To earn honest living by hardwork for the benefit of mankind)
ਨਾਮ ਜਪੋ: Naam Japo ( Remember Almighty through meditation.)
ਵੰਡ ਛਕੋ: Vand Chakko (Share with everyone irrespective of the caste, class, creed..)
BABA NANAK’S vision was Pragmatic and Holistic.
An Extraordinary Saint.
Well compiled piece of writing.
Keep Doing the Good work..👏👏
Thanks for this beautiful comment and for telling about the three pillars of Sikhism which Guru Nanak gave to us. Glad that you have found it worth reading (:
Very interesting article, my major in campus is aqidah of Islamic philosophy and talks a lot about philosophy. I think guru Nanak is a philosopher who is looking for a truth, including about spirituality, what else since childhood he was surrounded by people who are strong spiritual. There is nothing wrong with having a philosophy but don’t claim that there is no other religion. Other religions still exist, they run according to their respective histories and are believed to be true by their respective followers. I appreciate that the child teacher does not recognize himself as God. I also like the philosophical attitude of the teacher nanak. I remember the subjects of the tarekat in Islam, as well as someone who goes away from the world and goes to seek God, is alone in a holy place away from the crowd, fasts and so on until he becomes a Sufi and spreads good things in the life of the world. Keep spreading good articles, continue success.
Thanks, for this comment. I appreciate your views. And glad that you liked it (:
For starters, this is still relevant in todays society, it is true that in a high rank position, one shouldnt pass it on to a relative or next of kin but rather to someone who has shown that they are capable of the responsibilities and duties. Im no religious individual but I do believe that we only have one creator that has different interpretation from one religion to the other. I have a vague understanding of Sikhism but this made me more intrigue by how well written this was.
You’ve grasped the meaning of this article quite well. Kudos to you. And thanks for reading. Glad that you liked it and found it worth reading (:
Well written my brother….now you write something different..on religious topic you write this article…..I really like that…keep it up brother…
Thanks, Prabal. I tried a different topic this time. Glad that you liked it. Will cover more topics like this in the near future. Thanks for reading (:
very interesting article to read, add new knowledge for me. The figure of a nanak teacher is a Sufi whose soul is swept away in her life. Even though Guru Nanak is between 2 religions even though his belief is Islam, he has great respect for the religion of his family and environment. even the nanak teacher never said that he was islam singh or hindu, it’s just that the message conveyed was extraordinary and understandable, the point is that every religion in this world basically loves one another, one of the goals is to believe in the existence of god, it’s just that the concept is different.
keep on creating to share knowledge
Thanks, Vika for the lovely comment. Glad that you found it worth reading. As u said, The paths may be different but the destination is same. True. Keep reading and thanks for giving ur time (:
Wow… i am amazed to see your growth as a writer. You have explained it so well covering the length and depths of the book and still kept it interesting. I’m really glad to have come across this one there’s so much that i have gained by reading this one. This one must reach to as many people as possible, it tells us about so many unknown facts,is inspiring, enlightening and above all written wholeheartedly. Stay blessed Yash🙂
Shukriya, Aishwarya for your kind words. Glad that you learnt something new from this article. And thanks to you also for giving ur time and going through this article (:
Hello Yash bhaiya, at first thanks for your beautiful article. I always want to know this religion. But in Bangladesh there aren’t any sikh people.So to know this religion was difficult to me. After reading this article I come to know this religion properly and also know what a great person Guru Nanak was…Keep it up👍
Hello Oishi. I hope you are doing great. I’m glad that you learnt something from this article. I know there are no Sikh People in Bangladesh. And thanks for giving your time and going through this article. Keep reading (:
The best religion in world i found is sikh religion , i know many things about this religion but this article brought the light to many more things about sikhism , Guru nanak ji is one of the most famous guru and founder of sikhism . Thnks yash for this wonderful article , keep it up , i love your dedication and spirit to provide the best knowledge of the books .
Thanks, Anil for this beautiful comment. I’m glad that you liked it and found it worth reading. Do share it with ur friends and family alike. And keep reading (:
this is very interesting article’s. Also i suddenly got more curious minds into it. I recently open my youtube apps and saw many videos related of sikh religion . I’m sure that you guys an indians better know than me as a foreigner here. I just wanna say that I think Sikh people have courteous behavior . Even with people of different religions, I see they really Respectfull with each other. And This will be the most touching article I’ve ever read on this blog. I really thankfull to you for always posting beautiful articles that expand our horizons here as readers. it has really highlighted how talented you are in write . i personally loves your write skills . keep it up , keep soaring, my best wishes for u 🙂
Shukriya, Meera for this adorable comment. Glad that you liked it and found it worth reading. Yes, Sikhism is the religion of humanity. That’s why they don’t discriminate on the basis of caste, creed, gender, colour and race. That’s the USP of this beautiful religion.
God resides in us…humanity is the key…He dwells in us
Couldn’t agree more with you (:
Hey Yash, this was a worth read! This shows us how we can follow the good things of all the customs or religions.. you need not to belong to a certain religion to follow their good faith.. this article and ofcourse, this book tells us how we can connect to our inner self by just being humane to human!
Wonderfully written! Keep it up!
Worth reading Yash…
We will all be moved with this philosophy…serving the mankind without expecting anything in return. Very kind Guru Nanak.
Glad that you liked it. Thanks for your feedback.